Well, Fischer is still plenty crazy, but it turns out that even within the world of competitive chess, they come far crazier. Case in point, Kirsan Nikolayevich Ilyumzhinov, president of the Russian Republic of Kalmykia (a tiny former Soviet republic which is Europe’s only Buddhist nation)and of the world chess body. This article from German’s Spiegel Magazine is so impossibly absurd that I almost have trouble believing it, but then again we are talking about chess masters here.
He claims that he can communicate with aliens. Once, he says, he was even taken on a tour of one of their UFOs. “The extraterrestrials put me in a yellow astronaut suit and showed me their spaceship. I was on the bridge. I felt quite comfortable in their company.” And who is the lucky space tourist? None other than the president of the Russian Republic of Kalmykia, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.
The 44-year-old multimillionaire has other interests than just space aliens. In the past, he regularly consulted a Bulgarian fortune teller named Babushka Vanga. About 13 years ago, the blind psychic told him that he would be appointed leader of Kalmykia and elected president of the World Chess Federation (FIDE), would open a factory to clean the wool of Kalmykian sheep and, last but not least, would have an oil pipeline built through the Caucasian steppes.
The pipeline doesn’t exist yet, but the psychic’s other predictions have all come true.
And what about the extraterrestrials? “The day will come when they land on our planet and say: ‘You have behaved poorly. Why do you wage wars? Why do you destroy each other?'” the president says. “Then they will pack us all into their spaceships and take us away from this place.”
Given his psychic’s success rate so far, we may want to start packing.
Unsurprisingly, Ilyumzhinov is an admirer of Bobby Fischer. Please do yourself a favor and read the entire article.
One thought on “And I thought Bobby Fischer was crazy”
This guy is great, he was written up in the New Yorker, Atlantic, and Slate earlier this year. I also heard about him on a podcast from the BBC in which a couple of guys were attempting to visit the most obscure and unvisited places they could think of.
The whole chess palace thing sounds crazy, but it’s gotten Kalmykia possibly as much space in the foreign press as it’s ever had before and more.
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